The Affordable Housing Alliance Inc., a Columbia-based nonprofit housing agency, is offering "loss mitigation" and reverse-mortgage counseling for homeowners in Central Maryland.

Loss mitigation programs attempt to help families avoid foreclosure and retain their homes by working with mortgage lenders to develop a repayment plan that is agreeable to both parties.

Options include a special forbearance plan, a mortgage modification plan, partial claim to cure a loan default, a deed in lieu of foreclosure or a preforeclosure sale.

Reverse mortgages allow property owners older than 62 with low or no mortgage debt to convert their equity into cash through open lines of credit or loans secured by their homes.

Unlike other types of debt, reverse mortgages generally don't have to be paid off until the owner moves or dies.

When applying for a reverse mortgage, borrowers must present a certificate showing they have received counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The counseling focuses on the types of reverse mortgages, the suitability of such loans and the alternatives for borrowers.

Homeowners over 65 can order a free reverse-mortgage workbook from Transamerica HomeFirst, which offers its "HouseMoney" plan in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia and 13 other states.

Call Transamerica at 1-800-538-5569 or the Affordable Housing Alliance at 410-995-5815.

Pub Date: 4/20/97

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